Vegetable Patties Recipe

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makes: 32

Taken from Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka by Bree Hutchins (Murdoch Books; £20).
Photography: Bree Hutchins


  • Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 200 g (7 oz) cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 dried long red chillies, chopped
  • 6 small pink Asian shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon roasted chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 6 cm (2½ inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Dough
  • :
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) full-cream milk


  • To make the filling, heat the coconut oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage, dried chillies, shallots, fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, curry leaves and rampe; cook for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are golden brown. Add the salty water and remove from the heat. Stir in the mashed potato until well combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature

  • To make the dough, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Using your hands, mix in the coconut oil, then gradually add the milk, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to work the dough until it is soft and pliable; you may need to add a little water (up to 4 tablespoons). Shape the dough into a large ball and rub with a little extra coconut oil

  • Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to 3 mm (.⁄8 inch) thick. Cut out 10 cm (4 inch) circles with a pastry cutter or glass. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the filling into the centre of each circle and fold in half. Use your fingers to press the edges together, brushing the edge of the dough with a little water if necessary. Re-roll the offcuts and use as well. Repeat with the remaining dough

  • Fill a wok one-third full of oil and heat to approximately 180°C (350°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 15 seconds). Deep-fry the patties in batches for 2–3 minutes until crisp and golden, turning them over halfway through cooking time. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve hot or cold.

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